Minister warns against land fires during Covid-19 crisis

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Kilkenny Kilkenny

Minister warns against land fires during Covid-19 crisis

The Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Michael Creed, has repeated a strong warning to farmers that they must not burn land at this time of year and doing so may have serious consequences for farm payments.

The Minister stressed, “Although most on-farm visits are currently suspended due to the Covid-19 crisis, my Department is continuing to carefully monitor satellite imagery in order to identify any parcels of land that are burnt illegally. Follow-up ground inspections will take place where necessary. It would be an act of gross disregard for your community if you set illegal fires that could stretch the resources of our emergency services when they are already prioritising care for the vulnerable in our society at this particular time.”

As well as endangering lives and property and doing untold damage to the environment, illegal burning of your land will put your own payments at risk and can also adversely affect your neighbour’s payments at this time of crisis:

If you burn land between March 1 and August 31, you risk prosecution, fines and potential imprisonment

Burnt land is not eligible for payment under the Basic Payment Scheme and other area-based schemes; Inclusion of illegally burnt land in the 2020 Basic Payment Scheme application may result in reduced payment and penalties under this scheme and the other area-based schemes, e.g. Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme; Illegal burning can also render the land of your neighbours ineligible for payment; Where it is identified that lands were burned during the closed season this may result in on-farm inspection of such land in due course.

The Minister stated, “This is an unprecedented time in Ireland and I know that we can depend on the farming community to once again come to the assistance of the whole country in maintaining food supply. This makes it all the more important that a small number do not act in a reckless and thoughtless way by illegally burning land."